The Wait is Over – The Much-Desired Insulin Pill is Finally Here

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Insulin Pill will now do the job. Yes you heard it right. Conventionally Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin injections of appropriate dose daily to manage their condition. However, it is projected that insulin injections may not be required any longer; scientists are developing insulin pills.

Type 1 diabetes is not very common and is genetic and cannot be prevented. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is essential for regulating the levels of blood sugar.

If not managed properly, type 1 diabetes can cause various health problems as the sugar levels are not regulated. For preventing the complications and keeping things in control, people having type 1 diabetes must get insulin in their blood daily through insulin pumps or injections.

But these ways are complicated and taking so many injections is not a very pleasant experience particularly for those who dread needles. A better alternative is taking insulin in pill form. But as soon as insulin comes in contact with digestive enzymes or gastric acid, it deteriorates.

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However researchers have not been able to come up with a coating that would carry insulin safely in the blood without the hassle of digestive system. Of late some specialists from Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering, MA, have developed a pill that can perform this job.

Senior study author Samir Mitragotri says that insulin must steer through a challenging impediment before it gets absorbed in the blood. This research has been issued in the journal PNAS.

The researchers have made a pill coating, protecting the insulin from enzymes present in small intestine and gastric acid and also be able to perforate the protective barriers of the intestine. In the pill, insulin is inserted in ionic liquid which has geranic acid and choline enclosed in enteric coating which offers resistance to gastric acid. Enteric coating protects the insulin from the stomach’s acidic environment. Ionic liquid resists the digestive enzymes protecting the insulin from them.

When insulin or any protein molecule enters the intestine, the enzymes decompose them into smaller amino acids. However the ionic liquid in which the insulin is inserted makes it remain stable.

Geranic acid and choline penetrates through the mucus lining the small intestine and the cellular walls of the intestine. So this is like a Swiss Army Knife as one pill is the solution for all the hindrances that are encountered.

It has also been noted that insulin pill can be manufactured easily and the process is more effective in cost as compared to other therapies. And moreover the insulin pill is not easily perishable. It can be preserved for 2 months at room temperature. So it survives more than the injectable insulin.

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Outstanding Results

After repeated trial and error methods of trying to give insulin pill [1] orally instead of by injections has been lauded by other specialists. Mark Prausnitz, Jr. Chair at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta says that it is great to develop ways for giving peptide and protein drugs like insulin pill, in place of injections.

The study is remarkable as the insulin taken by mouth with ionic liquid is as effective as insulin injections. This result will have huge implications if the findings imply that pills could be a safe and effective measure to administer insulin and other peptide drugs in humans.

Researchers say that insulin pill will reach the blood in a way that mimics the natural release of insulin by the pancreas. Further this method will decrease the adverse effects that occur with repeated insulin injections.

Mitragotri says that more studies will be conducted on animal models and ensure tat the designed pills are safe for consumption although there are no two heads about it. Generally, choline and geranic acid are safe and this will help smoothen out a path for conducting clinical trials in humans.

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